Isn't it time for a new recipe for a stressfree family gathering?
Posted on 19th December 2018 at 07:45
Not surprisingly, the subject of Christmas – AHHHH!!! – has been coming up with clients over the last few weeks and we thought it was about time to suggest an alternative less stressful approach. And, while we’re focussing on the 25th December, it applies equally to any family gathering ...
Even though you probably don’t want to be reminded of it (!) let’s start with a quick reminder of the traditional recipe for Christmas:
First, put on your rose tinted spectacles to enjoy a fairy tale picture of how you think – or are told (!) – it should be.
Add a large helping of family traditions, even though no one can remember where on earth they came from or why you still do them (!). “We’ve always done it this way.”
Stir in a resentment or two. Or, for added excitement, a family feud.
Top up with industrial quantities of food and booze. Oh and don’t forget the chocolate and sugar to keep blood sugar levels sky high and the younger members of the family completely hyper.
Simmer in a hot room for several hours. Then stand back or, even better, leave the vicinity completely before the fireworks start.
With all these ingredients, is it any wonder that seasonal goodwill and cheer can be so thin on the ground? The surprising thing is how quickly we forget all about it and then replay exactly the same scenario the next year. Probably with a few more resentments thrown in for good measure. And so it goes on. Ad infinitum.
So how about trying a new recipe this year? And, dare we say it, one that’s more realistic. And “no” we don’t mean one that starts with putting on a hard hat…
First, ditch those rose tinted spectacles. After all, they’re highly over rated. And not really your style either.
Don’t even attempt to make it “perfect”. Whatever that is. While you may not like to hear it, life just isn’t perfect. Good enough is good enough.
And, for your own sanity, ignore the papers and TV. Or trying to keep up with the Jones’.
Take a long hard look at all those family traditions. Ask yourself whether they actually make the whole thing more enjoyable?
What’s the point of doing mountains of brussel sprouts if not one eats them? Do you really need all those nibbles / six different puddings / a full afternoon tea / …………......……………… fill in the blank.
If you don’t feel happy thinking about them now, then they’re not going to hit the spot on the day. Be ruthless, you’ll feel much better for it. So will everyone else.
Let those resentments go. If you have little in common with your relatives for the rest of the year, expecting everyone to be best friends on the day isn’t realistic. Particularly when industrial amounts of food and alcohol are involved.
We often mention the “a” word. Radical, we know, but it really does make a huge amount of difference IF you do it.
Accepting that Great Uncle John is going to get tiddly / Grandma Flo will forget her teeth / the younger members of the family will get fractious and bored / ………………………………………. fill in the blank takes a huge amount of pressure off.
Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like whatever happens. It just keeps you gloriously neutral, sat in the audience watching events enfold around you. And, you never know, you may end up understanding those around you a lot better in the process…
Any family occasion is a great time to get the hang of acceptance, it really is. And think how expert you’ll be by the time New Year comes (!). Not to mention calmer and less frazzled.
Cut down on the amount of food and booze. Do you really need enough to keep a small army of people fed and inebriated for several days? It’s estimated that over 60% of the food and drink bought at this time of year goes straight into the bin. It makes no sense, whichever way you look at it, so ask yourself whether that enormous food shop is really needed.
And, finally, make time for the traditional family walk. Exercise, fresh air and a little space can make a huge difference to what happens later in the day. Trust us.
If you feel that you need a little extra help off the shelf our old friend, Rescue Remedy, is brilliant. Vogel’s Passiflora and Avena Sativa tinctures can also provide some ongoing support too. And don’t forget our personal favourite, Triple A. Just give us a call and we’ll pop some in the post to you.
So what’s it to be?
A new recipe for this year’s gathering – or a repeat of previous years with stress levels off the scale. And, possibly, blood on the ceiling?!?
As always, the choice is yours.
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